Those that read my blog may wonder why I write about every concoction I think is worth noting. Today I was reminded of where my passion and inspiration stems from. The Travel Channel just aired Anthony Bordain’s visit to Rome. For those that don’t really know me… Bobby Flay, Giada de Laurentiis, Anthony Bordain, and Ruth Reichl are like Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston in my life. In other words, they are my Hollywood and can be found on Food Network, Travel Channel, and chief editors of food magazines. Anthony Bordain was previously a chef in NYC, wrote the famous book Kitchen Confidentials, and now travels the world eating, drinking, and telling the world about it on his show No Reservations.
Why did his Rome episode remind me of my passion for food? Four years ago, I studied abroad in Italy. Not only did the video shots of the Colosseum and Trevi Fountain bring back nostalgia, but the food made me hungry to watch more. One of the opening shots shows him eating at a trattoria style restaurant. I actually studied the different types of restaurants while I was there. A trattoria is a family owned and family style restaurant. The tables are close together in a very intimate environment and feels almost as if you are eating with every other person there. This reminds me… food brings social gatherings. Wine completes the meal and bonds people. In another scene, a native Italian takes him to a restaurant where seasonal ingredients are served. Every new month brings an entirely new menu. I love the idea of cooking with what is available. My grandma, maybe one of the most inspirational people in my life, lived through the Great Depression and fed eight children on a nurse’s salary. She could make something out of an entirely empty cupboard. I feel that creativity can truly shine when given specific and limited ingredients. On the show, The Next Food Network Star, I am always amazed when the contestants are given 5-10 ingredients, have never cooked with half of them, and manage to make a delicious masterpiece. In his last scene, he cooks out with local Italians at the beach. The fish they are barbecuing is so fresh that it still has rigor mortus and is hard as a rock. The scene depicts them sipping on wine and tossing whatever ingredients they can dream of into the mix. I’d like to admit something… I never measure. Everything listed in my blog is an estimate. I am the queen of experimentation. I taste before I eat. I imagine flavors blending and then toss together in a dish. For me, cooking is a way to gather a crowd, be more creative, and express myself.
After feeling inspired to cook with whatever I had on hand, I made this tasty appetizer with a wine I sampled through out the day on customers. This simple tasty treat became the focal point of an after work conversation, the center of a good laugh, and a reminder of why I love my husband. Do you eat to live or live to eat?
A New Take on Caprese
- 2 roma tomatoes sliced into large pieces
- 2 garlic cloves sliced
- 1/4 cup goat cheese block, crumble into pieces
- 1/4 cup basil chopped
- olive oil to coat pan and drizzle over tomatoes
- 1 tsp balsamic to finish
- pita bread toasted and sliced into quarters
In a saucepan coated in oil, saute garlic over medium high heat until bronzed. Add tomatoes and cook for just a few minutes. Meanwhile, toast the pita. Season tomatoes and garlic, add dash of balsamic, and crumble goat cheese on at last minute. Serve with pita or any other bread on hand.
Wine Pairing: Santa Barbara Zinfandel Carignane Sangiovese blend